Original Article

Prevalence and Outcome of Olfactory Dysfunction in COVID-19 Patients in a Multiracial Asian Setting


Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Hospital Sungai Buloh, Jalan Hospital, Selangor, Malaysia

B-ENT 2022; 18: 103-109
DOI: 10.5152/B-ENT.2022.21634
Read: 247 Downloads: 100 Published: 01 April 2022

Objective: This study aimed to outline the prevalence and the outcome of olfactory dysfunction in a multiracial Asian setting.

Methods: The olfactory function of adult patients (above 18 years of age) who tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 via reverse tran- scription-polymerase chain reaction and were admitted to a tertiary center was assessed through a telephone-based interview. Patients with olfactory dysfunction at the time of the initial interview were followed up after 2, 4, 8, and 12 weeks.

Results: A total of 356 patients completed the study, of which 94 coronavirus disease 2019-positive patients with new-onset olfactory dys- function were included in this study. The prevalence of olfactory dysfunction in this study is 26.4%. Female predominance and younger age group were demonstrated. Malay patients were found to be the predominant race affected by coronavirus disease 2019 by 83%. The improve- ment of olfactory dysfunction was significant after 2 weeks as 84% improved. After 3 months of follow-up, 6.4% had persistent symptoms, of which 33.33% had parosmia and 66.67% had anosmia. None of the patients had olfactory dysfunction prior to coronavirus disease 2019or had a history of recurrent nasal symptoms. None of the patients received the coronavirus disease 2019 vaccination.

Conclusion: The prevalence of olfactory dysfunction among coronavirus disease 2019patients is 26.4%, whereby the Malay population were the predominant ethnic group involved. 84% of patients recovered after 2 weeks. After 3 months of follow-up, 6.4% of patients still have per- sistent olfactory dysfunction.

Cite this article as: Saniasiaya J, Asma Che Ab Rahim N, Sui-Lin Teh C, Prepageran N. Prevalence and outcome of olfactory dysfunction in COVID-19 patients in a multiracial asian setting. B-ENT 2022;18(2):103-109.

EISSN 2684-4907